Kate Boynton has been the Principal at Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) for the past year and can’t believe that it’s gone by so quickly. “It feels like I’ve been a part of the fabric of the Reading community for many years especially with the support I’ve received from the school administration, RMHS staff, parents, and the students”. Kate believes that she was able to meet her first year’s expectations with the support of her leadership team in always looking for ways to grow, meeting today’s challenges and setting realistic goals for the future. “While there’s more to be done, coming together as a team to constantly improve in serving the needs of all our students has been very satisfying”.
Kate came to Reading after serving 6 years as Assistant Principal of Bedford High School and is heartened that our town has lived up to its reputation of being a warm and welcoming community. The students reinforce that feeling of belonging every day, resulting in Kate’s delight to be here. Reflecting on the first year, Kate wished that she met student groups, clubs, and community members earlier in the scholastic year, but is doing so this year in working more closely with the student council, senior class officers and various student groups from the get-go with the goal of continuing to improve school culture and how it supports their students.
It’s very obvious that Kate enjoys being with students the most in her job. Simple things like joining them for lunch, holding doors open for them, interacting with them and being a steady presence in helping make things happen. Central to working in education is supporting teachers and students in the total learning process that goes beyond the books to support social emotional learning. She is comforted by the fact that RMHS’ Health & Wellness Department is top notch as are all the teachers and other departments who are working together toward the goal of supporting all students.
The biggest challenges Kate faces today as Principal is helping students face deeper and greater social and emotional needs, especially with the impact that social media has today. While today’s technology has provided for instant communication, it has come at a cost in the spread of disinformation or what is more commonly called “Fake News”. We have written much on this subject which has a life of its own and greatly impacts our students’ daily communications, both positively and negatively. Everyone has the portable means today with the wide use of cell phones and the necessary platforms accompanying it.
To meet today’s challenges, Kate believes RMHS needs to continue to work together as a team on its vision of how best to meet those challenges and supporting each other in the process. She defines the team to include the administration, school faculty, staff and the students. The challenge for teachers is much the same but more focused on meeting students’ needs with limited resources. It becomes more intense with additional demands placed on them by federal and state mandates. It is because of the whole team’s efforts that while Reading ranks in the lower third of student expenditures per capita in the state, it is in the upper quarter of scholastic standing.
Kate indicates that every department goes through a curriculum review and renewal cycle to keep relevant and adjust to any changes in the frameworks. Change involves addressing ever shifting educational, social & emotional issues.
Kate viewed the interviewing process in her selection as RMHS Principal as tough but fair with the whole process very well-organized beginning with parents, teachers, administrators and even students asking questions. The second step was a tour of RMHS where Kate got the opportunity to ask questions, get to know vested people better and receive a close-up view of all the facilities RMHS offers. Kate was offered the position and her RMHS career instantly began.
Kate began her 18-year teaching career in 1994 at Brockton High School teaching Social Studies and History for 8 years before going to Brookline High School for 10 years where she was a program co-leader for the Brookline Global Leadership Academy. Addressing global issues which were always changing is what interested her the most in teaching. At Brockton High School, Kate was an Instructional Resource Specialist for the history and social studies departments. At Bedford High School, she was the lead Assistant Principal for the STEP full inclusion program for students with social and emotional disabilities and their Lighthouse program for students transitioning to school from long absences.
A Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations from American University and a summer job for 2 years as an administrative assistant to 3 professors dealing with global issues, whetted her appetite for global education. In addition to her undergraduate degree, Kate has a Master of Arts in Secondary Education/History from Boston College and a Master’s of Education in Organizational Management from Endicott College. She’s has a year and a half to go to complete her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Mass/Lowell.
Kate lives in Groton with her husband Peter, an Engineer, son Aidan, a college freshman and daughter Marinna, an 8th grader. They love the outdoors, especially hiking together.
She is looking forward to a “wonderful second year at RMHS”!